This Yogini Is Tackling Period Shame

It wasn't too long ago that Instagram removed an image of a fully-clothed woman who happened to have period blood on her pants. Then, when another woman posted a photo showing her period blood, commenters suggested she take a cyanide pill and "Kil yourself now plz." Women constantly get the message that our periods are gross, weird, inappropriate, and other terrible things — and it's our job to keep them under wraps. This week, yoga instructor Stephanie (Steph) Góngora, known on Instagram as @casa_colibri, is saying: NOPE. Góngora posted an Instagram video in which she moves through a gorgeous yoga flow including handstands, arm balances, and a full hanumanasana. It's the usual #yogisofinstagram stuff, except Góngora has her period — and is actively bleeding through her white yoga pants. Góngora told Cosmopolitan about how, as a young gymnast, she faced crippling anxiety when she had to practice during her period. "The possibility of leaking through even two super-plus tampons and a pad during an hour-long class enveloped my life," she explained. Now, as a yoga instructor, she still gets worried about springing a leak during class, and she started to ask herself, why do we care?

She decided to film herself bleeding during her yoga practice — making a statement and kick-starting a crucial conversation in one fell swoop.

I am a woman, therefore, I bleed. . It's messy, it's painful, it's terrible, & it's beautiful. . And yet, you wouldn't know. Because I hide it. . I bury things at the bottom of the trash. I breathe, ragged and awkward through the cramps, all the while holding onto this tight lipped, painted on smile. . Tampons? What are those. We don't say those words out loud. Hide them. In the back pocket of your purse, in the corner of the bathroom drawer, at the very bottom of your shopping cart (please let me get a female cashier). . Events or engagements get missed. I'll tell myself it’s the PMS, sure, but it has more to with the risk of being "caught," at what...I'm not quite sure. . And I’m lucky. . Over 100 million young women around the globe miss school or work for lack of adequate menstrual supplies, & fear of what might happen if the world witnesses A NATURAL BODILY FUNCTION. . WHY? . Because hundreds of years of culture have made us embarrassed to bleed. Have left us feeling dirty and ashamed. . STOP PRETENDING. Stop using silly pet names like Aunt Flo because you're too afraid to say "I'm bleeding" or "vagina." Stop wasting so much effort hiding the very thing that gives this species continuity. . START talking about it. Educate your daughters. Make them understand that it can be both an inconvenience and a gift, but NEVER something to be ashamed about. Educate your sons so they don't recoil from the word tampon. So when a girl bleeds through her khaki shorts in third period (pun intended), they don't perpetuate the cycle of shame and intolerance. . This #StartSomethingSunday , I want to highlight @corawomen . . Cora Women is a 100% Organic tampon company. . But that’s not all. They are also breaking barriers. Making it ok to talk about periods, even on social media. Providing personalized, delivered tampon/pad orders right to your door. AND for every box purchased, donating a box of sustainable pads to girls who can't afford menstruation products. . Fuck yeah. That's the kind of stuff I can galvanize behind, no money or even product needed. Just a mission I support on a topic we should ALL be talking about. . More ⬇️

A video posted by Steph Gongora (@casa_colibri) on

"I knew a bright red blood spot on pristine white pants would make a statement in a society that rarely takes the time to actually read — that catching people's eye with something a little more shocking might be necessary to snap them out of their social media scrolling," she told Cosmo. She added that "leaks are SUCH a typical occurrence for me, and something, I believe, women shouldn't have to be ashamed of." "I've been successful in getting people to talk about period shame," she explained, "something that was shrouded in such silence for far too long... I do hope that this cycle of shame and intolerance around the very thing that gives our species continuity can, one day soon, stop." We hope so, too.
Since posting the video, Góngora said she has received "hundreds, if not thousands" of messages applauding her actions, thanking her, expressing disgust, and — yep — telling her she should kill herself. Nevertheless, she's proud of the statement she made with her video and confident in the fact that now, at the very least, people are talking about it. We know there's nothing quite as inspiring, awkward, hilarious, and necessary as a quality conversation about periods.

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